Fear Of A Blank Planet review by Porcupine Tree

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  • Released: Apr 16, 2007
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.6 (127 votes)
Porcupine Tree: Fear Of A Blank Planet
1

Sound — 9
It's difficult to condense the brilliant collection of ideas and sounds featured on the newest addition to the Porcupine Tree discography Fear of a Blank Planet. The album comes five years after the release of prog-rock masterpiece In Absentia and two after the band's most recent release Deadwing, making it a highly anticipated and equally suited addition to the group's largely successful history. Though the album follows a bleak and disturbing story of a troubled youth, the music is nothing short of brilliant. Intelligently composed around a highly original collection of sounds and coupled with eloquent song writing, the album mirrors the artistic qualities of, not only the album's main creator Steven Wilson, but the genuine beauty of the progressive rock genre. The album opens with the title track, Fear of a Blank Planet which extends at a comfortable seven and a half minutes. The song begins with the typing of computer keys and slowly progresses so that it builds in intensity, a musical accompaniment that appears to perfectly mirror the turbulent life of the faded youth. As the album progresses, so does the style of music, moving at graceful pace from soft (My Ashes) to heavy (Anesthetize) and going deeper into the youth's troublesome psyche. Standout tracks include the melodic Way out of Here and ultimate prog-rock opus Anesthetize.

Lyrics — 8
Based on a teenager's disengagement with the wider society, the album provides an engaging (and harrowing) journey through the youth's inescapable downward spiral, highlighting the destructive nature of the world around him. From the bleak confines of his bedroom to the emotional dysfunction caused by an excess of drugs, Porcupine Tree capture this powerful imagery with a cleverly selected musical composition. Lyrically, the song details (quite graphically) exactly what the music projects. Lines such as you feel no sun, you steal a gun, to kill time are gripping as they provide the disturbing reality of the character in a way that is not overly simple or complex in language. Though not quite as lyrically creative as with past releases, primary songwriter and front man Steve Wilson does enough to ensure the story fits perfectly with the music. As always, Wilson has set himself up as a 'voice' for the modern prog-rock age and thus the vocals are comfortable accompaniment to the flow of the music.

Overall Impression — 8
While the album, in comparison to previous releases, is noticeably different it is not a huge departure from the band's easily recognised sound. In fact, Porcupine Tree, in maintaining their traditional style don't turn their backs on new and more modern sounds. The album's clever integration of many different genres make it a genuine recommendation for admirers of progressive and hard rock, blues, jazz and even heavy metal.

6 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Shib
    Greatest stuff ever.. this is like heroin to my ears.
    Cobalt Blue
    i have all their albums, haven't listened to them yet.. this is a good albums. but they're pretty hit and miss. they have some great songs and some pretty lame songs.. I thought the music on this album was great, but the lyrics... well let's just say he say's something about 'the pills i'm taking' more than a few times on the album... we get it, most of society is medicated. However much more cleaver than Weezer simply saying 'we are all on drugs'
    Second Rate
    Cobalt Blue wrote: i have all their albums, haven't listened to them yet.. this is a good albums. but they're pretty hit and miss. they have some great songs and some pretty lame songs.. I thought the music on this album was great, but the lyrics... well let's just say he say's something about 'the pills i'm taking' more than a few times on the album... we get it, most of society is medicated. However much more cleaver than Weezer simply saying 'we are all on drugs'
    With concept albums... it's pretty common for certain lyrics or musical themes to repeat. After all.... how many times have Dream Theater reused that refrain from "this dying soul" throughout Mike Portnoy's little A.A. suite thing...
    jonnyharris1
    I love this album so much, i got it the day it came out and still cannot stop listening to it
    Golem29
    Could we actually have an IMPARTIAL review. I mean, it's not a bad album by any means, but some of the scores handed out here are pure and complete fanboyism. It's a problem with most of the reviews on here, nobody can be impartial, making the reviews totally worthless. Anethetize is one of their best songs, but the rest isn't anything special, and overall the album doesn't touch the previous four in terms of songwriting and overall quality.